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Hank Williams Jr. Cleans Up His Act for McCain-Palin

Updated 10:32 p.m.
By Juliet Eilperin
RICHMOND -- Hank Williams Jr. sang an ode to "McCain-Palin tradition" at a rally here today, but the song's original lyrics don't quite mesh with the campaign's family values theme.

Williams' original song, "Family Tradition," is a glorification of the singer's hard-drinking, dope-smoking ways. Alluding to those who question whether he's broken with the tradition of his famous country-music star father, Williams sings, "They get on me wanna know Hank/Why do you drink?/Why do you roll smoke?/Why must you live out the songs that you wrote?/Over and over/Everybody made my prediction/So if I get stoned/I'm just carryin'/On an old family tradition."

The next verse continues, "I am very proud/Of my daddy's name/Although his kinda music/And mine ain't exactly the same/Stop and think it over/Put yourself in my position/If I get stoned and sing all night long/It's a family tradition."

In the song he sang this afternoon before a crowd outside the Richmond International Raceway, Williams blamed Democrats for the current financial crisis. "Now this old Union's got problems/That is plain to see/The Democrats bankrupted Fannie Mae N Freddie Mac/Just like 1, 2, 3/The bankers didn't want to make all those bad loans/But Bill Clinton said you got to/Now they want a bailout, what I'm talking about/Is a Democrat liberal who do."

The chorus is right in keeping with the campaign's theme, and echoes Palin's linguistic tics: "John N Sarah tell ya/Just what they think/And they're not gonna blink/And they're gonna fix this country/Cause they're just like you N ole Hank/Yes John is a maverick/And Sarah fixed Alaska's broken condition/They're gonna go just fine/We're headed for better times/It's a McCain-Palin tradition."

One line Williams sang today did not appear in the lyrics the campaign distributed later in the day. That was an allusion to Barack Obama's connection to Weather Underground member William Ayers, in which Williams praised John McCain and Sarah Palin's friendships by crooning, "They don't have radical friends to whom their careers are linked."

And while Williams boasts in the original version, "I have loved some ladies/and I have loved Jim Beam," those are apparently not attributes he ascribes to the members of the GOP ticket.

See the official lyrics for "McCain-Palin Tradition" after the jump:

The left wing liberal media have
Always been a real close knit family
But, most of the American People
Don't believe 'em anyway ya see
Stop and think it over
Before you make your decision
If they smell something
They're gonna come down strong
It's a McCain - Palin tradition

Now this old Union's got problems
That is plain to see
The Democrats bankrupted Fannie Mae N Freddie Mac
Just like 1, 2, 3
The bankers didn't want to make all those bad loans,
But Bill Clinton said you got to
Now they want a bailout, what I'm talking about
Is a Democrat liberal who do

John N Sarah tell ya
Just what they think
And they're not gonna blink
And they're gonna fix this country
Cause they're just like you N ole Hank
Yes John is a maverick
And Sarah fixed Alaska's broken condition
They're gonna go just fine
We're headed for better times
It's a McCain-Palin tradition

I am very proud of America's name
Bu no society is perfect
And we have had our stains
If I'm down at the coffee shop and
Somebody wants to give our flag friction
We say please move on
Cause we're standing strong
That's an old John McCain tradition

Repeat Chorus

Some are bound to tell you I'm
Preaching to the choir
And that is very true
And we are going even higher
Like a mama bear in Idaho
She'll protect your family's condition
If you mess with her cubs
She's gonna take off the gloves
It's an American female tradition

Repeat Chorus

By Web Politics Editor  |  October 13, 2008; 4:52 PM ET
Categories:  Battlegrounds , Cast of Characters , John McCain , Sarah Palin  
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The lyrics shown here are close but not quite correct, especially the rather comical misinterpretation of this line:

"Is a Democrat liberal who do"

Williams is calling the bailout package a "hoodoo" which is a conjure or spell.

Posted by: AncestralYuba | October 17, 2008 12:58 AM | Report abuse

Just following a link to read the lyrics of a song I first heard of only minutes ago, I was shocked by the one-sidedness of the "comments" I've just read. It took getting to the bottom of the page for me to discover I was on a Washington Post site. Shock gave way to understanding, if not awe. Clearly, were this a Fox News site, the, uh, "balance," or imbalance would swing in the other direction. Here's what I got from the song. It's honest with a capital aitch. Honesty is not something I get from Mr. and Mrs. Obama. Shall I count the ways? Hank nailed him on a few. Most of mine, I sense, would fall on deaf ears here. My disbelief in his Christianity (Atheist, not Muslim or what we used to call Moslem), my disbelief that he loves, or has had, in his "adult life," any pride in this know, the one that made war on itself to put an end to an evil that exists elsewhere even to this day; the one that pitched in and helped annihilate an evil thousands of miles from its eastern border in the early 1940's; that one; this one; the one that someone, likely an estados unidense, (United Stateser for those "South" Americans who feel we've appropriated the word "American" for ourselves)called the land of the free and the home of the brave. Free and brave men and women live in many "lands," but Obama will lose for a variety of reasons. The "Change" he chose for a catch-phrase is frightening to those bitter souls who cling to either guns and religion, or the notion that the United States need not change into something that more resembles, say, Belgium. More power to all of you who've identified yourselves as Democrats, and thus, vote against the Republican candidate. I used to do that myself. Unfortunately, (Chris Dodd, Harry Reid, Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, Barack Obama, to name a few) the Democrats of today bear little resemblance to the Democrats I used to admire and respect.

Hit the link immediately above if you'd like to read something a professional wrote that sums up why and how many of us who used to be wit'cha are now agin'ya.

Posted by: richalmack | October 15, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Great...stupid version of a decent country song for a stupid campaign run by a formerly decent man. perfect...

Posted by: LABC | October 14, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Too bad about Ol' Hank Jr. He seems to have blown a few too many brain cells on Jim Beam and dope. I guess he can go back to drinking all night long in a few weeks.

Posted by: markg8 | October 14, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Too bad about Ol' Hank Jr. He seems to have blown a few too many brain cells on Jim Beam and dope. I guess he can go back to drinking all night long in a few weeks.

Posted by: markg8 | October 14, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Manolete says "many believe that most of the "venom" in the campaign is coming from supporters of Obama."

Manolete, just because "many believe it" doesnt mean it is TRUE. Just a little distinction for you there.

Posted by: dnfree | October 14, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Ever wonder what would happen if MTV hosted a presidential debate, well now you get to find out.

Posted by: pastor123 | October 14, 2008 12:56 AM | Report abuse

Don't think anyone outside Dixie really cares what this moron thinks.

Posted by: crm1951 | October 14, 2008 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Oops. That would be 'having a fit', not shaving one.

Obama/Biden '08

Posted by: rmiller19 | October 13, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Why did he have to go and ruin a perfectly good song with those twisted lyrics?

Oh well, I still like his music. If I were a right-wing nutjob, I'd already be shaving a fit and breaking (or burning, or shooting, or...) all of my Bocephus CDs. lol

Obama '08

Posted by: rmiller19 | October 13, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Ha ha ha ... Hank Williams Sr. to cast a vote for this GOP. Sweet potato pie and shut my mouth.

Posted by: mammyyel | October 13, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse


1) Uh, what are you talking about?

2) Who is "Barack Hussein?"

3) Are you really a female?

-An old lady feminist for Obama/Biden 08

Posted by: JulieMcNamara | October 13, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

At least Hank has an excuse...alcohol, you don't even have that Membery.

Posted by: colecurtis | October 13, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Hey "itsagreatday1" Hank don't need to go back to sleep half as bad as you need to wake up.

Posted by: colecurtis | October 13, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse


Women must unite against the liberal media vicious, sexist, cruel, demeaning, contemptuous UN-AMERICAN, unfair, unprofessional, unrelenting and blatantly biased treatment against Vice President Sarah Palin and acting blatantly in favor of Barack Hussein Obama during this unprecedented historic quest for the presidency!

Barack Hussein Obama claims a mightier throne, one forged in liberal ideals of justice and equality and hope, BUT he has benefited mightily from sexism in this campaign, and has remained silent. Obama supporters seem very happy with the sexist way pundits and some news organizations treat any action or statement by Sarah Palin, and many believe that most of the "venom" in the campaign is coming from supporters of Obama.

Women of America Unite in this defining moment in American history. To ensure we can grow up from the male dominated government that has caused many of the problems our country is facing; to a country where men and women are equal partners in governance.


Posted by: Manolete | October 13, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Go back to sleep, Hank. We'll wake you up when this is over.

Posted by: itsagreatday1 | October 13, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

That's great John, but Obama's going to fight the economic crisis.

Posted by: rodneyhopper | October 13, 2008 6:19 PM

"Going to fight"! That ain't fightin' -- he had two years to do that, and didn't lift one limp finger to fight! No, he's jist another Washington windbag, votin' with them big Dem dogs to crush opposition to regulatin' Fannie and Freddie, and even helpin' one of them there lawsuits to force the bank to lend money to people who shouldn't have been lent to. Jist remember where this big 'ole crisis came from, and yer Obama dude's got a whole passel of fingers pointin' at his face!

Now, if you want to see fightin', see John McCain! He at least tried, even if Obama and his friends shot him down. I don't count McCain's failure agin' him -- even the most wiley cat can be brought down by a pack o' rats!

Posted by: unclesmrgol | October 13, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Hank Who?

Posted by: r4147824 | October 13, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it funny how Bush, McCain and Hank Jr. all got by in their early careers with little else but their Daddy's name? Born on third and thought they hit a triple.

Posted by: gjcomm | October 13, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I love Hank, but I do find it a little funny that the guy that decried 'Reaganomics' in the 80's is pushing McPalin, but I guess it's to be expected as he was a big Bush supporter.

Also, as a Titans fan, it's sickening to see a Tennessee resident don a Redskins jersey for a cheap crowd pop ;)

Anyways, it's really too bad that they got Hank out for McCain to say absolutely nothing.

Obama laid out a great plan today, while McCain just said 'I'm going to fight Obama.'

That's great John, but Obama's going to fight the economic crisis.

Posted by: rodneyhopper | October 13, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

no radicals to whom their careers are linked, huh? I guess old Hank hasn't heard of the secessionist Alaska Independence Party, the one that Todd Palin belonged to, the one that Sarah's been caught making nice to a number of times, the one whose founder was murdered after a plastic explosives deal gone wrong. Nope, no radical fringe elements in their closet, no sir...

Posted by: sghost75 | October 13, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

This is just another example of hypocracy. It really is in the candidates best interest (both sides) to avoid sharing the stage or publicizing support from entertainers with colorful backgrounds. Surely, there are enough celebreties out there that don't have foul mouths and pasts flooded in vices. On the other hand, McCain's gambling should be investigated and explained.

Posted by: xargaw | October 13, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

To the guy who says he is a nice guy.
By the way, he is a nice guy, he is my neighbor, my daughter is good friends with his daughter, I have done business with him on a regular basis and he has always done what he said he would do. That's more than I can say for most left wingers I have dealt with. Of course, I would take his opinion on running the country, far above a Kenyan.
And no, I'm not drunk, have not been for many years, and yes, I am supporting McCain-Palin.

Posted by: rmlm1 | October 13, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Whole lotta stank Hank.

Posted by: jamick32 | October 13, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

If Obama wants to take away your guns then why did the South Dakota NRA just endorse him?

Posted by: thebobbob | October 13, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

You would have to be drunk or stoned to like McCain-Palin.

Posted by: info4 | October 13, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Hank Williams Jr - probably a nice guy for a drunk. Would you trust him to babysit your kids? Would you trust his opinion on running our country? Are you ready for some Football!

Posted by: Membery | October 13, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

See the best Sarah Palin impersonations, short clip. Very Funny.

See What they didnt show during the debate
What the media didnt cover, the debate outtakes. A tense moment between tom brokaw and John McCain.

Posted by: pastor123 | October 13, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

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